The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, recently inaugurated a 10.89km long Chenani-Nashri all-weather road tunnel on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. This impressive tunnel is a technological marvel and is expected to knock off at least 41km of road distance and save travellers at least two hours between Jammu and Kashmir. It has been built keeping in mind the diverse weather conditions of the area. It took seven years to build and will be part of the National Highway Authority of India's project between Jammu and Srinagar, along National Highway 44.
The tunnel was built at a cost of ₹3,720 crore and is part of the 286km long four-laning of the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. It is built at an altitude of 1,200 meters on difficult Himalayan terrain. It happens to be Asia's longest tunnel and that isn't even the most impressive feature here. Designed smartly, the tunnel is equipped with a super-efficient ventilation system, communication, power supply, incident detection, SOS call box, fire-fighting equipment and advanced sensors that will work to ward off security threats. All systems installed are completely automated and will require no human interaction to carry out their functions. Vehicles up to only five metres are allowed inside and sensors are present everywhere to make sure that protocol isn't broken.
Other than being a transport boon, the tunnel has also done a great job of maintaining the environment around. There has been no large-scale deforestation during construction. Along with that, the local economy has flourished as the project provided employment to at least 2,000 unskilled and skilled youth of Jammu & Kashmir plus a total of 600-900 people from across the country have worked on this project in three shifts over the past four years.
The tunnel is expected to bring about some significant changes to the tourism industry and local economy. The Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping, Nitin Gadkari, said that ₹7,000 crore will be invested in highway projects in Jammu & Kashmir in the next two years.